Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie doesn’t even open until next Friday, but talk of his next film, a turn in Ridley Scott’s Alien universe, has already almost entirely eclipsed that (okay, not really, we’re still stoked to see the robot adventure, but he seemingly can’t talk to anyone without fielding a barrage of questions about his Alien movie). We don’t know much of what the story entails, but the writer/director did confirm that it involves the most important piece of the puzzle (even more so than the snarling, drooling, H.R. Giger-designed Xenomorphs): Ellen Ripley.
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise. One, it’s not really an Alien movie without her, and two, when Blomkamp released some of the concept art he’d been working on at the beginning of the year, she figured prominently in those images.
Over the years, I came up with a story for a film in that universe that I wanted to make. And then when I talked to her about her experience making those films and what she thought about Ripley and everything else, it informed and changed the film I wanted to make into something different. It just sort of stuck with me. A year later, when post-production was winding down on ‘Chappie,’ I started fleshing out the idea for a film that would contain Sigourney. Fox never knew. I just worked on it when I could. Before I knew it, I had this really awesome film with a lot of artwork and a lot of backstory. And then I didn’t know whether I was going to make it or not. So I just kind of sat on it for a while.
So Ripley is there, but what we didn’t know is if Weaver is actually on board or not. We still haven’t heard anything official on that front, but the way Blomkamp and Weaver, who also can’t do an interview without answering Alien questions, talk, it certainly sounds like she’s back. When she discusses the topic she kind of lights up and gets this warm, happy look. Check out this interview with Sky Movies, featuring both Weaver and Blomkamp, and try to come away thinking she’s not in.
Watching this video, you also have to wonder about any future in the franchise. Weaver says she wants to take Ripley for one more spin and “give a proper finish to what was such an excellent story.” She goes on to say that the series “deserves a proper ending.” For his part, Blomkamp also reportedly talked about “finishing the story.”
We kind of assumed that this would be the end. Weaver is 65-years-old (which seems insane), so her days as an action hero are winding down, but from this talk, it sounds more concrete. I’m sure in a few years the studios will try to reboot it in some inane fashion, but like I said earlier, it just isn’t an Alien movie without Ripley and Weaver.
Blomkamp also says some things that are interesting in regards to the internal chronology of the films. He says, “I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of [James Cameron’s] Aliens, so it’s Alien, Aliens, and then this film.”
Does that mean he’s ignoring Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection? Is this a revisionist timeline akin to what they’re going with Terminator: Genisys? If that’s the case, it could leave the door open for another question we’ve had since we first saw Blomkamp’s concept art. The pieces he revealed prominently featured Hicks, played by Michael Biehn in Aliens. Hicks dies in Alien 3, but if that never takes place, it’s possible he could return. In that case, you can imagine that Newt may also play into the story.
None of this really tells us anything, raising more questions than it answers, but it gives you an idea of the thought process going into this movie, and there is certainly a lot to think about.